The rule of thirds equally divides a frame with two horizontal and two vertical lines. The resulting overlay is used for composing and arranging subjects within the image. This technique is helpful for creating images that guide viewers through various parts of the image, but it is by no means a rule of law.
Image by vlas. Notice how this photo uses the rule of thirds to create a compelling composition by roughly aligning elements of the landscape alongside the guidelines and near intersection points.
Break the Rules.
Breaking the rules and finding the exceptions can be a great process for discovering new looks that stand out from the crowd. Here are a few ways you can reframe your image without using the rule of thirds.
1 — Align Center.
Image by nickspector.
Rather than using guides that split the frame into thirds, try using one line along each axis to create a single intersection point at the very center of the frame. This creates a much more symmetrical layout, especially when used with square images.
2 — Work the Edges.
By turning your attention to the edges of the frame, you can create unique compositions that diverge from more traditional approaches. This also tends to create areas of negative space within the image, which itself can turn into a creative tool. Try this if you want to experiment with a more minimal look.
Image by clairekeeley
3 — Fill the Frame.
Image by ohconnor.
Stretching subjects across the entire frame is another way of breaking free of the rule of thirds. If you have a subject that repeats a pattern, or if you're wanting to abstract a subject by getting in close, try allowing it to fill the image from edge to edge. This creates a singular visual plane that forces the viewer to seek out points of reference.